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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 18th August 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. RoDTEP scheme: Duty relief for Exporters
  2. RBI unveils financial inclusion index
  3. Forming security force to protect judiciary
  4. TAPAS (Training for Augmenting Productivity and Services)

RoDTEP scheme: Duty relief for Exporters

Context:

The government on notified the rates and norms for the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Taxation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) Scheme
  2. Extension of the RoDTEP
  3. RoDTEP Benefits

Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) Scheme

  • The RoDTEP Scheme allows exporters to receive refunds on taxes and duties that are not exempted or refunded under any other scheme.
  • Under the scheme, exporters receive refunds on the embedded taxes and duties previously non-recoverable.
  • The chief aim of the scheme is to boost the export of goods that were poor in volume.
  • The scheme basically replaces the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS).
  • The scheme provides for rebates of Central, State and Local duties/taxes/ levies which are not refunded under any other duty remission schemes.
  • The RoDTEP scheme can be said to be a combination of the MEIS and the Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL).
  • Under this scheme, refund would be claimed as a percentage of the Freight On Board (FOB) value of exports. 

Features of RoDTEP Scheme

  • It covers duties and taxes levied at the central, state and local levels that are not reimbursed under any other mechanism. Items that were under the MEIS and the RoSCTL are shifted to the RoDTEP.
  • Refunds will be issued to exporters as transferable duty credit/electronic scrips and maintained in an electronic ledger. This is keeping in line with the Digital India mission. This can be used to pay basic customs duty on imported goods. The credits can also be transferred to other importers.
  • Faster clearance through a digital platform will be facilitated through a monitoring & audit mechanism, with an IT-based risk management system that would physically verify the exporters’ records.
  • The scheme is applicable across all sectors.

Extension of the RoDTEP

  • In January 2021, the Government has decided to extend the benefit of the Scheme for Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) to all export goods. (Initially, the scheme was expected to be limited to around three sectors to start with due to limited resources.)
  • In August 2021, the Government notified the rates and norms for the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme, while asserting that it would put some ‘direct cash in the pockets of exporters’ soon.
  • This move means that Indian exporters will be able to meet the international standards for exports as affordable testing and certification will be made available to exporters within the country instead of relying on international organizations.

RoDTEP Benefits

  • Being WTO-compliant, the RoDTEP scheme can make available from the government benefits to the exporters seamlessly.
  • The scheme is more exhaustive in that certain taxes that were not covered under the previous scheme are also included in the list, for example, education cess, state taxes on oil, power and water.
  • It will add more competitiveness in the foreign markets, with assured duty benefits by the Indian Government.
  • It will also help exporters meet international standards and promote business growth.
  • Also under RoDTEP, tax assessment is set to become fully automatic for exporters, hence, Businesses will get access to their refunds for GST via an automatic refund-route.

-Source: The Hindu


RBI unveils financial inclusion index

Context:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the formation of a composite Financial Inclusion Index (FI-Index) to capture the extent of financial inclusion across the country.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth & Development, Mobilization of Resources, Issues Relating to Development)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What does Financial Inclusion mean?
  2. About Financial Inclusion Index

What does Financial Inclusion mean?

  • Financial inclusion means the availability and equality of opportunities to access financial services. It refers to a process through which individuals and businesses can access appropriate, affordable and timely financial products and services.
  • The financial products and services include equity, banking, loan and insurance products.
  • The efforts to broaden financial inclusion target those who are unbanked or underbanked and directs sustainable financial services to them.
  • Simply put, financial inclusion extends beyond opening a bank account, as it is possible for individuals with bank accounts to be excluded from financial services.
  • A more inclusive financial system is linked to stronger and more sustainable growth and development and that is why it has become a key priority for countries across the world.

About Financial Inclusion Index (FI Index)

  • Financial Inclusion Index has been conceptualised as a comprehensive index comprising the details of banking, insurance, investments, postal and pension sector in consultation with government and sectoral regulators.
  • FI-Index has been created without any base year. It reflects cumulative efforts of all stakeholders towards financial inclusion. It will be published annually in the month of July.
  • It captures information on different aspects of financial inclusion in a single value in the range of 0 and 100. 0 indicates complete financial exclusion while 100 indicates complete financial inclusion.
  • The FI-Index comprises three broad parameters (weights indicated in brackets) viz., Access (35%), Usage (45%), and Quality (20%) with each of these consisting of various dimensions, which are computed based on a number of indicators.
  • It comprises of three broad parameters such as Access, Usage, and Quality. Each of these parameters comprises of various dimensions, that are computed on the basis of different indicators.
  • It is responsive to ease of access, availability & usage of services along with quality of services, comprising of all 97 indicators.
  • Unique feature is its quality parameter that captures the quality aspect of financial inclusion on the line of financial literacy, consumer protection etc.

-Source: The Hindu


Forming security force to protect judiciary

Context:

The Union government told the Supreme Court that it was “not advisable” to form a Central security force to protect the judiciary and court complexes. The government said security of courts was “better left to the States”.

Relevance:

GS-II: Governance (Government policies and interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the recent emphasis on protection for the Judiciary
  2. The Government’s views on protecting Judiciary
  3. Constitutional provisions that ensure Judicial Independence 

About the recent emphasis on protection for the Judiciary 

  • After the recent murder of a judge in Jharkhand, Uttam Anand, in broad daylight, the Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the attacks on judges along with petitions pending since 2019 seeking better protection for the judiciary and in courts.
  • The court had asked the Centre’s opinion on forming a central security outfit in the manner of the Railway Protection Force to protect courts and judges.

Directive to the States

  • The SC had directed the States to file affidavits about the security arrangements for courts. The court warned that Chief Secretaries would be summoned in case of non-compliance.
  • Several States had not bothered to file affidavits detailing the security arrangements in place for courts. Others who had filed affidavits presented a “lazy picture” of the security arrangements.
  • The court allowed the States to file their affidavits in 10 days subject to paying ₹1 lakh each as costs.

The Government’s views on protecting Judiciary

  • The Union government has told the Supreme Court that it is “not advisable” to form a Central security force to protect the judiciary and court complexes. Security of courts was “better left to the States”.
  • According to the government, protecting the judiciary is a job better left to the states because problems of security vary from State to State. So, the State police would be better equipped to gauge the deployment needs in local courts and take care of logistics of transporting criminals and protecting witnesses, among other crucial functions within court complexes.
  • It was also highlighted that ‘police’ is a State subject in the seventh schedule of the Constitution.

Constitutional provisions that ensure Judicial Independence

Security of Tenure:

  • Once appointed, they continue to remain in office till they reach the age of retirement which is 65 years in the case of judges of Supreme Court (Article 124(2)) and 62 years in the case of judges of the High Courts (Article 217(1)).
  • They cannot be removed from the office except by an order of the President and that too on the ground of proven misbehavior and incapacity.
  • A resolution has also to be accepted to that effect by a majority of total membership of each House of Parliament and also by a majority of no less than two third of the members of the house present and voting.
  • Procedure is so complicated that there has been no case of the removal of a Judge of Supreme Court or High Court under this provision.

Salaries and Allowances:

  • The salaries and allowances of the judges is also a factor which makes the judges independent as their salaries and allowances are fixed and are not subject to a vote of the legislature.
  • They are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India in case of Supreme Court judges and the Consolidated Fund of state in the case of High Court judges.
  • Their emoluments cannot be altered to their disadvantage (Article 125(2)) except in the event of grave financial emergency.

Powers and Jurisdiction of Supreme Court:

  • Parliament can only add to the powers and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court but cannot curtail them. In the civil cases, Parliament may change the pecuniary limit for the appeals to the Supreme Court.
  • Parliament may enhance the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
  • It may confer the supplementary powers on the Supreme Court to enable it work more effectively.
  • It may confer power to issue directions, orders or writs for any purpose other than those mentioned in Article 32. Powers of the Supreme Court cannot be taken away

Making Judiciary Independent:

  • Article 211 provides that there shall be no discussion in the legislature of the state with respect to the conduct of any judge of Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties.
  • A similar provision is made in Article 121 which lays down that no discussion shall take place in Parliament with respect to the conduct of the judge of Supreme Court or High Court in the discharge of his duties except upon a motion for presenting an address to the President praying for the removal of the judge.

Power to Punish for Contempt:

  • Both the Supreme Court and the High Court have the power to punish any person for their contempt.
  • Article 129 provides that the Supreme Court shall have the power to punish for contempt of itself. Likewise, Article 215 lays down that every High Court shall have the power to punish for contempt of itself.

Separation of the Judiciary from the Executive:

  • Article 50 contains one of the Directive Principles of State Policy and lies down that the state shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the state.
  • The object behind the Directive Principle is to secure the independence of the judiciary from the executive.
  • Article 50 says that there shall be a separate judicial service free from executive control.

-Source: The Hindu


TAPAS (Training for Augmenting Productivity and Services)

Context:

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment launched an online portal TAPAS (Training for Augmenting Productivity and Services), developed by the National Institute of Social Defence

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to education, Government Policies and Initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the TAPAS Initiative

About the TAPAS Initiative

  • TAPAS (Training for Augmenting Productivity and Services) offers various courses in the field of social defence for the capacity building of stakeholders. 
  • It is a standard MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) (a free Web-based distance learning program) platform with course material such as filmed lectures and e-study material. 
  • It also includes discussion forums to support and encourage interactions among students and course coordinators.
  • It will provide access to lectures by subject experts, study material and more, but in a manner that it supplements the physical classroom without compromising on the quality of teaching.
  • It can be taken up by anyone who wishes to enhance his or her knowledge on the topics and there is no fee for joining.
  • The five basic courses are on Drug (Substance) Abuse Prevention, Geriatric/Elderly Care, Care and Management of Dementia, Transgender Issues and on comprehensive course on Social Defence Issues.
  • The objective of TAPAS is to impart training and enhance the knowledge and skills for the capacity building of the participants.

-Source: The Hindu

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